Monday, April 30, 2012

Dog Child

Becoming a dog owner has opened my eyes to a phenomenon of cross species parental love. I have witnessed it on Animal Planet and The Discovery Channel. The images of one animal raising another animal of different species is touching.
To confirm that I hadn't imagined the cuteness I googled "one species of animal raising another" and was surprised to find about 2,300,890 websites that matched. Apparently I'm not alone in finding enjoyment in the precious dogs raising cheetahs and cats feeding deer. The gorilla holding a baby kitten was my favorite. The pig raising the tigers seemed risky.
These momma animals take the babies under their wing as if species didn't exist. They raise them as their own. Talk about some serious adoption. Usually a monkey wouldn't want to be caught face to face with a tiger - we are talking potentially fatal encounter here - but when that tiger is a baby the past murders of ancestors are put aside and that monkey is right there to feed and protect the tiger.
That is the stuff life lessons are made of.
Which brings me to the human equivalent.
Dog ownership
Dog owners don't just feed, walk and clean up after their puppies (and grown puppies). They cuddle them, coo over them and guard them with their life. The dog isn't just an animal, it is practically at human status. Actually, some dogs are above human status. As Anchorman would say, "A little Buddah covered in fur." Okay, so maybe the family dog isn't drawing crowds like religious trips to Mecca but you get my point.
Recently I have noticed people actually treating their dog as if they are actual human babies. Take, for example, the dog in the baby Bjorn. Typically this is a carrier for an infant or young toddler. The baby is kept close to the mother and can feel safe and secure while being kept warm and coddled.
I wonder if the makers of the Bjorn knew this was also true for dogs when they patented their invention?
At the farmers market I ran into a woman carrying her white fluffy Maltese in a baby Bjorn. This mental picture would be sufficient but there is more. The dog was wearing a hat with special ear cut out holes and, wait for it, a pair of over sized sunglasses. Yes, this dog was ready for the beach.
I considered questioning whether this woman was aware this was a dog and not a fuzzy child, but I refrained. They both looked happy and that is what counts in the dog and dog child relationship.
My next dog child encounter came in the form of a Poodle that looked much like my own dog child. The dog barked, the man picked her up and softly whispered to her, comforting her anxiety with soothing words. It was borderline creepy. I didn't know whether to feel the "Aww" emotion or the "Uh, wha??" emotion. I'm still mulling it over.
Whether or not you raise your dog as if it were a human being is up to you. I take a different approach to pet ownership, but that's just me. To each his own. If you carry your dog strapped to your chest just know you won't be the first.
Just please, keep the creepy cooing to a minimum in public.

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